Landlords everywhere need to understand the importance of educating themselves on
meth labs and use in rental properties, especially on the physical dangers and the
immense financial impact. Many cities across Australia are seeing a rise in the production
of methamphetamine, or meth / ice.
When people move into a dwelling they are most likely to be unaware of previous illicit operations. These individuals may have family members who include infants and young children, are pregnant, elderly, frail or have compromised health, placing them at increased risk. Methylamphetamine contamination may persist for years on all surfaces in the home, including within the building materials.
What Are The Effects Of Exposure
The most significant effects related to methylamphetamine exposure, include: neurochemical changes in areas of the brain that are associated with learning, potentially affecting cognitive function, behaviour, motor activity and changes in avoidance responses; psychotic, physiological and behavioural / developmental effects that include violent behaviour, depression, irritability, hallucinations, mood swings, paranoia, mood and sleep disorders. Prolonged exposure to methylamphetamine also causes cardiovascular effects including increased heart rate, blood pressure and at higher or sustained exposure, chest pain, hypertension and the risk of stroke (Ministry of Health 2010).
Health Risk Estimation
It is likely that many hundreds of children (about 10% toddlers) have/are being exposed to clan lab contamination and this is likely to be in terms of thousands if undetected clan labs are included (assuming a 1:10 ratio). The corresponding numbers of adults including other sensitive groups are likely to be even higher. enHealth, January, 2017
How Many Labs Are Out There?
The growth in Labs in Australia is not slowing down. For the hundreds of detected labs, there will be many thousands more labs that may never be identified and will continue to operate until eventually abandoned leaving property owners with the clean up.
The making and smoking of meth contaminates property, leaving owners with significant repair bills and placing property managers at legal risk. About 1 in 10 clan labs are thought to be detected in Australia, while others continue to operate until they are eventually abandoned or relocated (Newell 2008). The number may be higher than this as data from New Zealand indicates that 32% of frequent drug users in 2011 indicated that they cooked (or had an attempt at cooking) their own drugs (Wilkins et al. 2012).